Report from Wyoming
Chicago Man Hands Game Warden Counterfeit License;
The hunter hesitated to produce his deer license and when he did, the paper "although high quality, didn't seem quite right" and the "hunter's name appeared to be altered."
That prompted game warden Brady Vandeberg to get on the radio and check if the license was legitimate on that October 21, 1999 afternoon near Gun Sight Pass east of Jackson. The dispatcher responded the Wyoming Game and Fish Department had issued no such license.
The result has been a Chicago man recently pleading guilty, in 9th District Court in Jackson, to attempting to take a deer without a license. The 59-year-old man, also had his Wyoming hunting and fishing license privileges revoked through 2004, was placed on one year unsupervised probation and was ordered to be interviewed by G&F officers.
The original charge of felony fraud was reduced to the high misdemeanor charge through a plea agreement with the man and his Jackson attorney.
The man, a civil engineer at the University of Illinois-Chicago, said he photocopied his friend's Region H deer license, typed in his personal information and rephotocopied the fake license.
"Fundamentally, the man's crime was a major fraud to the state," Vandeberg said. "Anyone contemplating counterfeiting a license needs to know they could get convicted of a felony."
A felony conviction could land a hunting license counterfeiter in prison for up to 10 years, plus up to a $10,000 fine.
In 1999, the man legitimately drew a general elk license and an area 17 moose license. Until his license privilege revocation, he had been a frequent Wyoming hunter. From 1996-98, he drew three elk licenses and one deer license. In 2000, he unsuccessfully applied for elk and bought a sheep license preference point.
G&F officers routinely check the paper quality of licenses and other identifying features to detect counterfeit licenses.
In 1977, Pinedale game warden Dennis Almquist detected a counterfeit moose license attached to a carcass. Investigation revealed two other hunting companions also concocted counterfeit licenses. All three Florida hunters were convicted of hunting on an improper license.
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